Campaign Monitor Review: Affordable Email Marketing
Honest review of Campaign Monitor, an email marketing service great for small and large businesses and bloggers. Learn more about its features now.
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Hey guys! I have a product review I’d like to share with you. This one’s for an email marketing software called Campaign Monitor.
Over the last couple of months, I’d been looking at several different email services due to an issue with what I was using for one of my brands. In the middle of my search, I was approached by Campaign Monitor in what was the most fantastic timing ever.
Though I’ve had to push back my marketing campaign due to other circumstances and obligations, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to use and review their service through their sponsorship!
Campaign Monitor allows you to create and send email campaigns to your subscriber list. It also connects directly and through Zapier or PieSync with other apps and services, so it’s an easy addition to your marketing stack.
I recently set up Campaign Monitor for a viral email contest that I’ll be starting soon for one of my brands and I wanted to share my experience in this review.
First Impressions of Campaign Monitor
I think Campaign Monitor is good for any level of email marketing, whether you’re just starting out or managing large campaigns. The entry price point of the Basic plan ($9 per month for 2500 emails to up to 500 subscribers) is perfect for those who want to get their feet wet without dropping tons of cash each month.
One of my favorite things about Campaign Monitor is its editor. Unlike several other options I tried recently, this one works smoothly and has modern features. Many other apps were obviously dated or felt clunky to use.
Overall, the entire service feels clean, modern and user-friendly, something I definitely look for in a service. It’s packed with features without feeling overwhelming. I was able to jump right in and create my first automation with ease.
Pricing was a really important factor for this project since I’m starting a new list and unsure exactly how many people will sign up. I’m hoping it’s LOTS, since I’m planning for a viral factor and giving away a sizeable prize, but the community I’m catering to is also big on anonymity so they may not be super open about the idea of sharing their email. I want something that will work well with my budget rather my campaign is an overall flop or if it explodes my brand’s popularity.
Best Campaign Monitor Features
Campaign Monitor is FEATURE PACKED and I couldn’t write about all of them, so I picked a few of my favorites to share. I have some specific things in mind last time I went around looking at email services, can Campaign Monitor actually met a lot of my requirements with these features.
Let’s start off with the email building editor since I was just talking about it before. I mentioned before how I’ve recently tried out several email services. A lot of them looked OK at a glance, but then there was something that really stood out as not okay by my standards. Campaign Monitor didn’t have any of these problems and actually had some pleasant surprises.
Here are some of my features of the editor:
Drag and drop builder
No coding required! Simply drag and drop elements into your email template and adjust preferences to your liking. There are a good number of sections you can add to each email, including a link to videos (that automatically imports the video title screen) and even surveys.
Campaign Monitor has an impressive gallery of their best email marketing campaigns and client stories. I kept my emails simple, but after actually using the builder myself, I felt like I could really create templates on par with these campaigns. A lot of other builders have left me wondering just how anyone created anything nice inside them. ?
Speaking of surveys, Campaign Monitor has a survey creator (powered by GetFeedback) as a built-in section. This is a really interesting feature to me as it allows you to easily create a survey to send out in your emails.
Nice looking social media icons
Surprisingly, a lot of email services are still using those old, default social media buttons that stick out from the rest of your content, and not in a good way. Campaign Monitor has clean, beautiful looking icons that fit in with your emails.
You can add links to basics like Facebook and Twitter, and also to YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Pretty much all the ones I need.
Several Google Fonts
There’s a good selection of fonts to choose from in the editor. Several Google Fonts are included, so it should be easy to match your email text with the rest of your website’s branding.
The font selection isn’t HUGE, but I think that’s a good thing since it keeps you from getting out of hand with some fancy stuff that’s hard to read, a mistake many non-designer types often make. I didn’t count them all, but there seems to be around 40 different fonts to choose from.
It’s likely that you’ll want to connect Campaign Monitor to other apps or services like web forms, landing page creators, WordPress, or analytics. There are several different services you can connect directly that can be found in the Campaign Monitor App Store. If you can’t find the app you need to connect with Campaign Monitor, you can use Zapier or PieSync to expand its compatibilities.
I’m currently trying out CoSchedule, so I have it connected to a CoSchedule calendar. When I schedule a broadcast in Campaign Monitor, it displays on my CoSchedule calendar as well. If I have to reschedule a campaign, my CoSchedule calendar is automatically updated with the new date and time. Super handy for keeping track of scheduled mailings along with the rest of your content.
Automatons in Campaign Monitor are called “Journeys”. Each journey is a sequence of emails a subscriber goes through once they complete an action that triggers the automation, like clicking a certain link or visiting a specific page. This is what you’d use for a welcome sequence, email course, or sales sequence.
Automation sequences are a pretty basic feature of email services nowadays, but there are still some without it or with limited access. I was glad to see automatons are included with every plan.
Custom template builder
I really like how Campaign Monitor has a dedicated section just for your own custom templates. This seems like such a duh thing to have but many services totally miss the mark, instead of making you depend on past drafts or campaigns.
With Campaign Monitor, you can create several templates and reuse them whenever you need to instead of trying to search through 50 emails to find that one you used 5 months ago.
Sections for targeted segments
This is one of my favorite features that I’ve only seen actually done in a couple of email services. What I mean by “targeted sections” is that you can create multiple sections in a single email that will only be shown to certain segments. You can write and send one email, but each person will see a different version of that email depending on which segments they’re a part of.
So let’s say in your weekly emails you talk about 3 different topics. You can have someone select which topics they’re interested in ahead of time (ask in your welcome email, for example) and then out send them information about that topic instead of the only two things as well. That way every email is tailored to their personal interests, even though you sent out just 1 email addressing all the topics.
Analytics and insights
No email service provider would be complete without analytics and Campaign Monitor does provide! You can see open and unsubscribe rates, subscriber engagement, campaign and content performance and more.
One big thing I was looking for was something that would play nice with Gmail mail filters. I was having some issues with another provider at the time that was causing every email I sent to hit the spam boxes of any Gmail user. With a large share of inboxes being on Gmail, this was completely unacceptable.
Emails from Campaign Monitor successfully went into the Promotions boxes for the Gmail accounts I tested, which was exactly what I was hoping for. Phew! Nothing worse than seeing your non-spammy emails sent directly to spam.
What I Don’t Like About Campaign Monitor
I don’t really have too much I don’t like about Campaign Monitor, but there are a couple minor things that I’m too fond of.
Campaign Monitor uses subscriber lists rather than tagging. Each list can still be segmented, but I find tagging much easier to use.
Fortunately, their segments still hold a lot of power by allowing you to set sections of your emails to only show to certain segments. Not having tags is just a minor annoyance and mostly just personal preference.
No way to copy specific blocks in the editor
Another minor annoyance. You can copy entire sections, but not a specific block of text or a title. Maybe I was just missing the feature, but it doesn’t seem to be there.
Since you can copy a whole section, it’s not that bad. I just copied a section, then moved the text or image blocks to where I wanted then deleted the empty section.
Limited emails on Basic plan
One thing I really hate about email services is when they limit the number of emails you can send on a paid plan. 2500 to 500 per month is a pretty good rate if you’re only sending out weekly blog posts, but if you also want to run people through a welcome sequence or email course as well, it’s just not enough. You’ll need to upgrade much sooner than 500 subscribers, depending on how many emails you manage to send out.
Try Campaign Monitor Now
Campaign Monitor doesn’t have a typical trial period but instead allows you to create and set up an account first, then only pay when you’re ready to start sending emails. I actually prefer this to a trial because it gives me ample time to figure out how I feel about the backend.
There are some things you just don’t notice right away and putting a time limit on that learning period makes me feel rushed to make a decision I may not be happy with. I like that I can go back even a few months later to reevaluate and check out new features if I want.
Start your own trial of Campaign Monitor and let us know what you think in the comments below. I recommend it for those just starting out who want to get serious about their email marketing but need a cheap email service to get started with. You can always upgrade at any time as needs for your list grow.